England's Rugby World Cup semi-final heartbreak draws record audience as millions tune in to ITV for South Africa clash | The Sun
ENGLAND’S heartbreak at the hands of South Africa has set a new broadcasting record on ITV.
The Rugby World Cup semi-final had the nation on the edge of their seats and more eyes were glued to screens than any other time in 2023 for ITV1.
Last night’s game drew an incredible 8.7MILLION viewers in the closing moments as the Red Rose saw their World Cup final hopes snatched away by the Springboks.
A stunning 7.2million people tuned in from kick-off to the final whistle which was over 40 per cent of the available television audience last night.
And the match is the most viewed rugby game since 2021 when England faced Scotland in the Six Nations.
But despite record figures and the will of the nation, Steve Borthwick’s brave side still crashed out in an agonising 16-15 loss.
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England will have to shake off a second consecutive World Cup heartbreak at the hands of South Africa – after losing the 2019 final – and prepare for what the future holds.
Perhaps what was a thrilling ending to a highly contested game could now be overshadowed however with accusations of a racial slur emerging.
England flanker Tom Curry was left furious after he reported that he had been the subject of a racial comment by Springbok Bongi Mbonambi.
Curry could be heard telling referee Ben O’Keeffe about the incident on the official’s “ref-link” microphone.
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And O’Keeffe himself has been centre of attention in the aftermath of the semi-final too.
The New Zealand born referee has been accused of handing South Africa the game with an incorrect matchwinning penalty call.
It’s not the first time there has been controversy around O’Keeffe either with the ref reportedly making FIVE errors during his officiating of the quarter-final between South Africa and France.
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